Oh, and Ten

Around 2003 some friends brought over “The Decalogue” by Krzysztof Kieslowski.  It consists of 10 short films produced for Polish television and each one addresses one of the 10 Commandments.  I loved the abstract approach and loved how it made me think about the commandments in a new way. 

On January 30th of this year I read about the rpm challenge, through the song pull site.  The idea is to record a ten song CD during the month of February.  There’s no awards or points, only the challenge.  So I signed up.  On the 31st I started laying out a plan – I figured a bit of structure would aid the creative process, but I was drawing a blank, until I remembered “The Decalogue.”

So here’s my 10 song indie rock concept album inspired by Moses, God, and the heights of Sinai.  The cycle deals with the commandments in the context of relationship, following one man through a few weeks of his life.  Commandments 9 & 10 were combined in song 9, Neighbor’s, so as to hook song 10 up with a bit of summary (I the Lord your God am a jealous God).  Down the road I may add a little ‘What does this mean?’ at the end of each song and take my thoughts and shove ‘em down your throat, but for now I’ll just let the songs be. 

I played all the instruments on these songs.  I say that as both a source of pride and as a disclaimer.  All songs were thought up, written down, and recorded (not necessarily in that order) during February 2007. 

Left click to listen, right click to download, scroll down for lyrics.

No Other

In Vain

Remember

Honor

You

Shall

Not

Witness

Neighbor’s

Jealous

Oh, and Ten

1. No Other
2. In Vain
3. Remember
4. Honor
5. You
6. Shall
7. Not
8. Witness
9. Neighbor’s
10.Jealous

————————
No Other

He heard the footsteps and the door open
It was so discreet and he was hoping
That just once he€™d get away with it all

She saw how he had found another
In the arms of a younger lover
He saw her eyes and he felt his whole self fall

And when he told me, I wanted to say
That€™s how my wife caught me
I have been there, in the same way
I thought she would be out of town

So he left her under the weight and the shame
And bore with him unbearable blame
With a bag barely zipped, he boarded the bus

That€™s where I saw him, both heading out
Hadn€™t seen him since the wedding, we all had our doubts
Still I held back my confession, and welcomed him to life with the rest of us

He saw her eyes and he felt his whole self fall
——————————————–

In Vain

My tie was tied three years ago €“
When I stood up in the back row
Of a mutual friend€™s inaugural g o
At holy matrimony

Today I slipped it on to see
If this noose still suited me
It suited my suit to a t
I looked good for the hiring

I mentioned our mutual friend
Sure the marriage fell apart
But doesn€™t it warm you heart
To hear me say her name

I mentioned our mutual friend
Sure the marriage fell apart
It did not warm your heart
I fear I dropped it in vain

So the job€™s not mine, that€™s fine I€™m gone
I had my suspicions, all along
Thought her name would save me I was wrong
I€™ll recover at the bar

I bore the signs of the maker€™s mark
When I headed into the dark
Should€™ve kept the gear stuck in park
Then I plowed another car

And it all went black for me
After a glimpse of the breathless body
—————————————

Remember

Awake in a white room
From my arms I see tubes
How did they get in me?
I cannot remember

I was in the car crash
Blacked out upon impact
Make my memory stop
Don€™t want to remember

Blood and glass on the street
White sheet covered body
I thought it should be me
I€™m left to remember

Slow-mo instant replay
Why are you in my way?
Her face was the last thing
Try not to remember

I must stay and lay still
Remain against my will
Slide show flash back in me,
And still I remember

The nurse is gone, the room is quiet, I remember
Still I remember
Still I remember
Still€¦
———————————–

Honor

During the morning session my life came back
Assaulted me, I was under attack
By the truth, there in group
Everybody bore my confession

I had crossed the lines entered the oncoming lane
At point one three I was to blame
I was drunk as a skunk
Now I€™m vomiting my confession

I had always kept my vices under control €“ until now
No one knew my weaknesses now they€™re all €“ over town
And what if word gets out to my family €“ back at home
The shame it brings I brought and now I bear it €“ all alone
 
In our small hometown, my senior year
Brian totaled dad€™s truck with a case of beer
We should€™ve died, how€™d we survive
So much for learning our lesson

Hey mom, hey dad, nothings changed, it€™s still me,
I still do what I don€™t mean I€™m sorry, on my honor
Hey mom, hey dad, why didn€™t you visit me?
I€™m falling apart at the seams, forgive me. On your honor?
———————————————

You

Hey man I don€™t know what you€™re doing in here, but you gotta get out it€™s the middle of the night people around here are trying to sleep I was trying to sleep they got all these needles in me for that reason alone all this drugs and stuff all this morphine and I don€™t know what any of it is but it keeps coming in me I can€™t even think straight now so whoever you are just get out of here and come back in the morning what do you mean yeah I know I know it€™s hurting look yes yeah I know that was me in the car I know what I did no I don€™t know who are but I know you gotta go you gotta leave me alone oh god I didn€™t know that I barely even I just barely saw her face I didn€™t know no I did not mean to take her life no I did not mean it its not it was stupid I know I shouldn€™t have gotten in the car but please no put that back no you gotta get out of here look I don€™t you can€™t do this to me man look you gotta get outta here no put that away I€™ll call the nurse nurse ah nurse get in here there€™s somebody  in here that I need to get outta here ah nurse please can€™t have in here nurse now get out here man I€™m calling the nurse ah nurse get in here no don€™t do that to me nurse get in here get in here now nurse no he was in here I saw him no no more drugs I saw him I killed his wife in the car crash you know I did it no get the needles out of me unintelligible I CAN€™T TAKE THIS!

———————————————–

Shall

Why are, you in, my room, will you, save me?
a-lone, I was, I tried, to love, I failed,
I left, in shame, she bares, my name, still calls
But you, are here, the phone, is off, the hook

Come out, shall we, tonight, you saved, my life

I know, your ring, I see, but still, just once
Be-fore, I leave, lay here, with me, don€™t tell
We will, escape, and hide, away, from here
You ease, my pain, I feel, okay, stay close

Secrets, we€™ll keep, no one, will know, but us
I am, ready, leave him, don€™t look, that way
Stay calm; you move, so fast, my head, not straight
It comes, fragment, can€™t think, you blur, be still

The lights, glow dim, I feel, your hand, on me
The fear, I feel, you stop, with your, needles
Why spin, it falls, syringe, you push, eyes close
Leave me, you are, with me, in my, repose
———————————————-

Not

The floors asleep, no one will know
Back on my feet, finding my clothes
Pulled the IV, reaching for my coat
Started out past the door

The lights are dim, I€™m in the clear
Just slide past him, get out of here
Rides on time, guard is on my tail
Fall into the passenger side

I€™m cashing in my connections
No one forced to comply
If we slip past all detection
It€™s not like I took anything that was not mine

No chance of jail; we€™re too far-gone
The border rail before the dawn
Night shift ends and my new life begins
Slipping through the systems hole

A nameless man, in a foreign land
A little scam, I washed my hands
I€™ll live with guilt, if it means I€™ll live
Hand me my new ID

And all the years I spent trying to make things work
I failed so many times,
I€™ll take this new name; I€™ll take a new place,
Don€™t tell me it€™s not mine

Just look away, eyes to the ground
Maybe someday, I will be found
At that time they better be prepared
I ain€™t goin€™ without a fight
————————————————-

Witness

They were coming down the hall
I could hear the knock knock knock at the door
They were clearing this joint out
Methodically floor by floor
And the knock knock knock got
Close close closer,
My charade is almost over

None of the windows open
I can€™t make a jump jump jump for it
Threats to break the door down
I hold my breath and open it
And they jump jump jump blown
Cove cove cover
My charade is nearly over

Tell us your name, your real name
I swear that€™s my name why would I lie
When did you cut your hair and shave
I€™ve always been a clean-cut guy
We€™re taking you in, we€™re under order
Here€™s a little gift, what did you say
You€™ve got an hour to clear the border
I must be going, have a nice day

Reach the river on the edge of town,
Time to make a break break break across
Clear the far edge scale the fence
Run for the bushes when I see the cops
And the brake brake brake lights
Hove hove hover
My charade is nearly over

Get over here and put your hands on the hood
Yes sir officer, anything you say
Show us your license; you€™re up to no good
Just out for a walk, it€™s a beautiful day
We saw you run, anything we should know
Yes I saw that person running I think they had a gun
We€™ll go check it out, this time we€™ll let you go
Good luck in your search, you two have good one

And we fall fall for false pretense
Go ahead and call your witness

———————————————

Neighbor€™s

I€™m just another bum on the bus
Can€™t hold a job, can€™t hold my drink
You say, €œCome live like the rest of us.€
With your whitewashed gospel of prosperity

And oh my God, I want to live your life
Give me back my house and my wife
It seems my neighbor€™s grass is always greener
And his mistress so mysterious, have you seen her?

You wouldn€™t recognize me by name
I€™m trying to keep my presence under wraps
Now I€™m back and your life is the same
Meanwhile all that I was has turned to crap

And I don€™t have the guts to go in
Watching through the window, most of the night
In my gut I sense I would be forgiven
At the cost of being caught at the break of first light

And maybe if I had been happy with you
We could€™ve avoided what I€™m putting you through
And maybe you won€™t have to deal with it anymore
I€™m sorry.  I€™m leaving.  I€™m walking away from the door.

————————————————-

Jealous

You walked into the house,
The room where he was caught,
It was not your fault, it never is

You waited for your spouse
But it was all for naught
The car before the house was not his

They came to tell you, they found the body
We€™re sorry for your loss, come with us please
And when you got there, pulled back the sheet
Take all the time that you need

You looked down at his face
Held onto his hand
Said, why must your betrayal end with this?

And in your mind a place,
You saw your son, a man
There too betrayal came with a kiss

But there too, from betrayal there came life.
From where I stood I could still hear the sound of her voice
€œI want you back€¦ with me€

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